I must say I never imagined that, after this amount of words, and time, I would be yet so far from clarity on this issue.
I see vague forms, and shapes beginning to form yes; but I can not pretend this all makes coherent sense to me.
To be sure, focus seems attainable, yes; but it seems some ways off right now.
All these words, and terms, and differing definitions and nuances of meaning…. Daunting. And lurking in all this, I’m fairly certain, are great truths; though I’m hesitant to alight on a particular branch too quickly…
What does it mean to be free, to be determined, to be rational, to choose, to react, to submit to influence… the words cross out from lips, I’m not sure we mean the same things by them.
There seem to be lines in the sand (so to speak);
chris says if we are determined, we simply cannot be free… I’d agree I suppose, in theory, but then he allows for our capacity to be heavily influenced. ie we are not determined, but our circumstance can be. ( I actually like this!) It seem crucial to chris that the acts which demonstrate our movement toward salvation must be our own. ie uncaused from outside. But what exactly is “outside” and what is “inside”?
Tom talks about the “psychological possibility” of doing something that is understood to be not in the best interest of that person. Motivation for doing such a thing? We can construct one.
I’m sensing a great divide between Tom and Chris – that they themselves are not (yet) addressing. By this I mean chris holds to a “fall” from what must be (presumably) a state of being informed, and knowledgeable, (which must be different from Tom’s state of initial “ambiguity, ignorance, etc”) yet Tom seems to hold that this state is something to which we can only grow. That’s a huge difference to my mind.
Sentient creature X does something bad/wrong… why does he do this?
Well, it’s because he:
a - is uniformed about the consequences
b - does not yet posses the psychological “tools” to do otherwise…
c - is simply a “bad” person doing what comes naturally to him…
d - gets some perverse pleasure (which he perceives as positive) from it…
None of which really addresses what it means for that person to be “free”…
And then there is the huge, massive loophole which everybody talks about – but especially perhaps Cindy here… That each of these factors are experienced in degrees… degrees of freedom; degrees of determination; degrees of rationality; degrees of knowledge. But a semi truck full of excuses and explanations can be driven through any one of these “loopholes”!
In the end though, we simply must be true to what chris reminds us about; accountability, and ourselves (or sentient creatures) as the source of evil.
And lastly, and perhaps most confusing of all, is the element of time and growth and learning… which Cindy also speaks very well about… Tom can be difficult to follow for me, in part I’ve decided, because he jumps around in time; from periods of “ambiguity and uncertainty” (which must be early on) to times of such psychological advancement wherein a mother finds it psychologically impossible to not do the right thing! (that must be further along in the spectrum of moral development…) Those are of course vastly different things, yet we apply the term “freedom” to them equally.
I still observe that tom and chris use the term “rationality” in different ways (see post from Wed Apr 16) as well as not being clear (so far as I can tell at least) on the place and role and nature of our “desires” (following post).
So here we are, trying to formulate a hypothesis in which (some form of) libertarian freedom simply must be accepted – all the while acknowledging that none of this is ever “all-or-nothing” so that everything here can be manifested only partially: freedom, knowledge, desire, will, determinism/indeterminism and so on.
So as you can see, I’m miles from (and miles from where I imagined I’d be) finding a coherent solution to all this…
Which actually makes it all the more fun and challenging I suppose!
Blessed Easter everyone…
HE IS RISEN!!!